Print Story Avoiding the Sasquatch
By aethucyn (Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 01:29:21 PM EST) (all tags)
In which our hero has a date(?), ponders the holidays, and journeys to outer-suburbia.

As I think I previously mentioned, I've been playing the Internet Dating game. It is a game that I am unsure I will ever actually win, but I think my goals are more than just stepping into a relationship. This does get me communicating with people, and even sometimes meeting them. Really, my free time is not so limited that I can't afford to spend a few hours with somebody new, even if it is just one time. Kellnerin mentioned to me when I started this that one never seems to find love when one is looking for it, and I had to admit that I always kind of have an eye open. So, there is an aspect where by focusing my attention in this way, perhaps love can surprise me from another direction. Too obvious a ploy? Perhaps, but love has no shame in falling for the obvious.

So, I was sort of invited to meet somebody for morning coffee today. I have to applaud her on doing it so slyly. She gave me a place and the time she'd be there, coupled with the comment that I'd probably not even be awake by then. I'm actually less morning resistant than I was a few months ago, and while yesterday I spent a good part of the day lounging in bed, it was more because there was no place I felt inclined to go than any actual intention. Since the location is a cafe that is my second home anyway, and since I never sneer at coffee, I was there (though to be on the safe side, I'd made no promises ahead of time, since sometimes I really am that lazy in the morning). All in all, I think it went well. She did ask me a question which set me into epic narrative mode, but it seemed to work well for conversation, as something I said would prompt her into an off-shoot, we'd follow it a while, and when that wore down, I could return to the story, so that even if I was telling an epic, I don't think I was trying to control the conversation.

The problem I have with these things is that I'm never sure what I think about the woman. It's as if I'm so busy presenting myself, trying to see if she likes me, that I'm not entirely sure what I think of her. Still, I think if she was willing, I would probably enjoy at least passing another Sunday morning in this fashion, during which I'd probably feel more relaxed and better judgements could be made.

Afterwards, I departed the cafe intending to get home before ana and toxicfur were to arrive and whisk me off to outer-suburbia to meet Kellnerin for Sunday Brunch Writing. About 5 minutes from home, ana called to ask where I was, and I assured him that I would be there soon. Luckily, I had gone for coffee with everything I needed in my bag of holding so I was able to just hop into the car and be off. Barely out of my neighborhood, ana noted the Arlington Necropolis, it's just on the other side of $busy street, and thus I had never noticed how close by it is.

"This street delineates the end of the world for me."
"There be dragons here," said ana.

While I'm perhaps not as unaccustomed to the suburbs as I like to pretend, I am still heartily a city dweller. I spent a good many years without subways roaring beneath my feet, and I missed it. I find cities strangely humanizing.

So all along the drive, I'd ask if there were monsters in this stretch of woods.

"See that wall," I pointed at a barrier along the highway, "That's to keep the sasquatch in!"

If ana and toxic found me annoying, they can at least be glad that I didn't start up a refrain of "Are we there yet?"

We made it to Panera without being abducted by any Big-footed predators, and even found parking rather easily, despite the close proximity of a Walmart, and the various Christmas shoppers it attracts.

Inside, I had soup in a bread bowl with bread on the side. (They really threw me off with the question of side, who gets a side with soup?) Sadly, we were out-smarted on getting all four of us into the irc chat-room, though the others were able to find clever ways around it, I found myself disenfranchised. Really, though, my goal in writing today was to include a fiber-optic Christmas tree. ("Aethucyn is still not allowed to come up with prompts" declared Kellnerin)

My urge to write about a fake Christmas tree aside, I am not a great lover of the holidays, though I'm not a great hater of them either. Some years, I've gone whole-heartedly into the present giving. I usually make some effort towards Toys for Tots or some similar organization (I tend to donate classic board games, particularly chess sets. A vanity in hoping that I can somehow give these kids more than five minutes entertainment with the craze of the week). I really do like the lights, and I kind of delight in the over the top displays that some people put up. This is the first time I've seen the giant inflatable sno-globes, and I am delighted to see that the industry is not resting on their laurels. More personally, though, the season makes me more than a little lonely. I've spent at least 4 of them entirely alone, perhaps more. While on the one hand, it's not really my holiday, on the other, there's still that sense that I'm missing out on something. I've been considering taking the postponed Rhode Island trip over Christmas weekend, but I'm still not entirely sure...

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Avoiding the Sasquatch | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
A couple years back... by ana (2.00 / 0) #1 Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 01:44:05 PM EST
there was a card available in the area, showing one of those over-the-top lighting displays, with a caption like you might find in National Geographic. "The residents of Somerville, in hopes of coaxing light back into their lives, attach artificial lights to their houses in midwinter." Or something like that.

Regular, or decaf abomination? --Kellnerin

I have been considering by aethucyn (2.00 / 0) #2 Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 02:04:13 PM EST
picking up a ticket for this next weekend.

[ Parent ]
they won't let me write prompts, either by BlueOregon (2.00 / 0) #3 Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 02:34:10 PM EST

1. I get the feeling that some cities are better for the online dating game than others. This is not one of the better ones, and on top of that, matters are rather unequal (better/easier for women than men [last woman I dated, whom I did not meet through a dating site, but who had a profile at such a site, receives {received?} a decent number of new messages every day {and while attractive she's no model, and her standards are rather exacting and would normally scare off most people}, whereas my better-looking-than-bo brother used to get one a month or so]). Coffee dates are good way to go, though -- pleasant, low-stress, and filled with caffeine. I hope this does not, however, hinder your work on your magnum opus (M are S, W are S).

2. No bag of holding here, but I did pass on the Dresden Codak comic, which has been a hit with my humanities-oriented friends, and they are passing it on to other friends (in particular the logic-phd-person and her husband who also play such games).

3. Holidays -- this will be two-in-a-row away from the 'rents; last year my excuse was Berlin. This year it's a) expensive plane tickets and b) a need/desire to work on the diss, uninterrupted by relatives, parties, and travel. After going to a holiday party last evening complete with lots of kidlets I found myself missing my step-nephew and pseudo-step-niece, so going back might be nice in a way.

Freedom is never having to write a prompt by aethucyn (2.00 / 0) #4 Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 03:29:50 PM EST
1. I do think that this is one of the better cities for online dating, though wherever you go, women are going to have more of a selection (though perhaps not a better selection). But I think this is generally true with more conventional means as well. Of my friends, the women have much shorter turn-around time between break-up and meeting somebody new, even so far as to have negative time between relationships. The flip-side of that is that I've known more women who have been in relationships that they would have referred to as unsatisfactory while still in them.
So yes, I initiate contact more often than women do on the site, and have maybe a 25% response rate from them.
  1. Hurray for spreading the Dresden Codak. I have strongly intimated to some friends that a print from there would make a wonderful holiday gift to me if they were so inclined. There are some other great comics in the archive. I'm also rather fond of the one about getting a job that you can do in your dreams.
  2. Having broken the fast with my family on Yom Kippur, and then seeing them for Thanksgiving, I am feeling less inclined to spend another holiday with them. Also, having not spent a Christmas with the family in over a decade, I don't really know if they do anything for it at all. As a kid, since breaks are scheduled to coincide, we used to visit my grandparents and do a traditional Christmas morning present opening (minus the tree, and Jesus and such). But even by the time I was in my teens, my parents used to take the holiday as a time for them to travel abroad while my sisters and I stayed home. So even if I were to want to spend the holiday with them, I have no idea what that means.

[ Parent ]
1, 2, 3 by BlueOregon (4.00 / 1) #7 Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 07:27:34 PM EST

1. I like to whine, so I'll do so. Madison is bad for people of "my" age. My claim: no interesting women my age (+/- a few years) who happen also to be single and/or interested in dating (I know plenty who aren't single, as well as some who aren't interested in dating [see: Oregon, Blue, Stories from the Trenches: Dating Hell and the Great War as Metaphor, 2006], as well as quite a few who are not interesting). A similar complaint was voiced years ago in a local paper regarding the gay scene, that it was great for the early-20-somethings, as well as for those in their 40s/50s who had been around in town for age, but that for young professionals it was a wasteland (see: T. S. Eliot's Personal Waste Land by James E. Miller Jr.); and it is true that young people (aka undergrads, or undies as a colleague once labeled them) have no problem -- off to a frat party, hook-up, and walk-of-shametm ... easy as 1-2-3, or a freshman at a frat party, for that matter (or frat matter).

2. I was also responsible for spreading Questionable Content to people last year about this time (evidence for the prosecution: one friend in SF-ia, two -- at the time -- in Berlin, one of whom [see previous paragraph] fell into that Waste Land of interested, interesting, single, but unfortunately the type of whom one might ask, who let the dogs out? [see: "Who Let the Dogs Out?" by Anslem Douglas and performed by Baha Men]). I've had less success spreading The Order of the Stick (source: Kellnerin).

3. As mentioned previously somewhere, Thanksgiving has, somehow, become the only meaningful holiday for me (xmas? either religious or consumerist, or I have to shut off my brain and be a hypocrite ... oops, I do that sometimes; New Year's Eve/Day? um, booze and/or football, but it's just a day; Valentine's Day? see paragraph 1. above; Mother's/Father's Day(s)? they get cards and such, but a) I'm not a mother/father, and b) if I'm not appreciating said parents on more than just those days, something is wrong; 4th of July? yippee! blow things up, BBQ, wave flags!), as my brother and I have spent it together rather often during the last decade. As for xmas, yeah, I enjoy getting up in the morning, sitting around in PJs, and opening presents in a ritualized communal fashion ... I'm enough of a materialist to enjoy the things I get, but the pleasure fades. They are all mass-market things that I could get on my own, and while I know I should appreciate "the thought behind it" I all too often think the thought behind the gifts was more a matter of "Shit! What do I get him?" than "I love this guy, and this is perfect for him!" I expect too much, I know. As for the ritualized see-the-family stuff ... I'm not that close to most of them and never will be in any meaningful way.

[ Parent ]
love and shame by Kellnerin (2.00 / 0) #5 Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 05:37:09 PM EST
It'd be dishonest of me to claim that I didn't know people who also found love exactly when they were looking. Though I think the main trick is really in the knowing when you've found it. And perhaps part of where the surprise element comes into play is in not worrying about the self-presentation part, but just experiencing what's there.

Did I ever tell you about the guy I dated who would not go on tangents? Would. Not. Ever. It's not that he was so focused that tangents would not occur to him, but he would not leave the current narrative to follow them. Instead, he'd say "That reminds me of something. Remind me when I'm done with this story." and continue. I'm not even sure that it was the lack of give-and-take that bothered me, just that it seemed like a horribly inorganic way to have a conversation.

Remember the Sub Shop at the End of the World? I don't.

"If we build it, will they come, and what will they do when they get here?" -- iGrrrl

I consider one of my finer social skills by aethucyn (4.00 / 1) #6 Sun Dec 10, 2006 at 06:45:55 PM EST
to be my ability to book mark a conversation at the point of last tangent. Not just when I'm telling a story, but even more notable when somebody else is. That when a tangent is finished, I can prompt somebody at where they'd left their story. I can even do it embedded style, remembering where the tangent story off of the tangent story off of the main story was before we went off on that last tangent.

The one thing I do know, is that I'm not going to meet people sitting in my apartment. Interaction begets interaction or it takes friends to make friends. I figure if I meet something and there's chemistry, we'll both agree on that. If not, meeting somebody and agreeing that we enjoy drinking coffee together once a week isn't so bad, and maybe she has a party and introduces me to somebody with whom there is chemistry. Or something like that. One way or another, it's better than what I have been doing.

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